Last session, the Indiana General Assembly passed, and Governor Pence signed, House Enrolled Act 1494, amending Indiana Code Title 12, Article 17.2 by establishing new requirements for national criminal history background checks for employees and volunteers of regulated child care providers.
A national criminal history background check involves the submission of an individual’s fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for comparison to a national database. (Note that there is a separate process for background checks for individuals under 18 years of age.) The new requirement for a national background check replaces a previous requirement for a background check at the state level, but it is in addition to the requirement for substance abuse testing.
This article discusses the new requirement for background checks in broad terms. More detailed information is available from the Bureau of Child Care of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. Note also that HEA also creates some other new requirements for some child care providers that are not addressed by this article.
The requirement for background checks applies to essentially all individuals who have any contact with children at any type of regulated child care providers, which include
- child care centers and child care homes that must be licensed;
- child care ministries that are exempt from licensing but must be registered; and
- child care homes and facilities that are exempt from licensing but receive funding from the Child Care Development Fund, a federal program administered by the state.
For all types of regulated providers, background checks are required for all individual caregivers, including both employees and volunteers. For child care homes, the requirement also extends to any member of the household who is 18 years of age or older (or, if younger than 18, who has been previously been charged with a crime and waived from juvenile court to adult court), even if he or she will have no contact with children.
Background checks are required when the child care center, home, or ministry applies for a license or registration; when an unlicensed provider applies for certification of eligibility to receive CCDF funding; when a new employee is hired or a new volunteer begins work; and every three years after that. The requirements for new applications and new employees and volunteers (and for child care homes, new household members) took effect on July 1, 2013. Other regulated providers have until July 1, 2014, to comply with the requirements for existing caregivers and household members.
The purpose of the background check is to identify individuals who are prohibited from being child care provider, an employee or volunteer of a child care provider, or a member of the household at a child care home. An application for a license, registration, or CCDF certification may be denied if the provider, a caregiver, or (for child care homes) a household member has been convicted of certain types of felonies or misdemeanors or if the individual has been charged of such a crime while the application is pending. Note that only convictions or pending charges count; previous charges that were dismissed or resulted in an acquittal do not disqualify an individual.